Monday, February 1, 2010

The Veterans of World War I: Richard Belmont Catton

The Waikiki War Memorial was built to honor the men and women to served during "The Great War."  Richard Belmont Catton is one of those honored here.

Richard Belmont Catton was born in Honolulu on July 12, 1890.  He attended Oahu College, now known as Punahou School, and graduated from MIT's Electrical Engineering program in 1915.

At MIT he was a member of the swim team and Phi Beta Epsilon fraternity.

According to "Technology's War Record," the 1920 publication of the Alumni Association of MIT:

"Upon graduation from the Institute he offered his services to the Royal Engineers, but they were not accepted.  He attended the Plattsburg officers' training camp in 1917, and in November was commissioned second lieutenant in the Aviation Section of the United States Signal Corps.  In June, 1918, he sailed for France, to be employed in the construction of airdromes.  In October he had a severe attack of influenza, recovered sufficiently to leave the hospital, but suffered a relapse.  An operation for mastoiditis was necessary, and shortly afterward another from which he died at Savenay, France, on April 14, 1919."

The Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium was dedicated to the men and women who served during "the Great War." The 1921 Territorial Legislature passed Act 15, which commissioned the memorial. It specified the memorial's location and that it "shall include a swimming course of at least 100 meters." All other design specifications were left to a design committee.

In December 2009, the City and County of Honolulu announced its plans to demolish the memorial and construct a new beach in its place. The City administration proposes a re-creation of the memorial's doorway be constructed elsewhere to honor the thousands of Hawaii's men and women who served in "The Great War."
More about the Waikiki War Memorial's future.